Why 209 Is the Most Significant Number Behind Trump’s Victory

Since her op-ed in the Washington Post last week lamenting “the way Trump won,” Clinton Communications Director Jen Palmieri has done a turn on a host of cable news shows, demanding “introspection” from the Trump team for supposedly winning by appealing to, and empowering, white supremacists.

Ms. Palmieri, it seems, has taken her sour grapes and disguised them as a self-righteous crusade against the very “deplorables” that cost her boss the election.

Ms. Palmieri’s op-ed and subsequent comments read like a calculated exercise in self-delusion; the kind where people construct an alternate reality to live in because reality itself is too difficult to accept. In this instance, Palmieri takes the existence of white supremacy in America as somehow proof that Donald Trump rode to power on its back.

While that might make a more comfortable world for Palmieri to live in — one where she doesn’t have to acknowledge the weaknesses of her own candidate — the electoral facts of this election simply do not bear that out.

Perhaps no detail illustrates this more than the number 209. That’s the number of counties that voted to send Barack Obama to the White House (and not just once, but twice), that flipped to support Trump — and overwhelmingly so.

Again, those are counties that voted for Trump after overwhelmingly supported a black president for two election cycles. If this election was indeed a cover for empowering white supremacists, how does Palmieri explain this statistic?

Aside from how impressive that number is, there are equally unimpressive numbers for Hillary Clinton. In fact, Palmieri might do well to heed the number six. That’s the number of counties that never supported Obama, but voted for Clinton. Yes, just six.

If Palmieri can’t discern the message embedded in those numbers, it’s this: Her candidate failed to reach reliable Democratic voters, but even worse, utterly failed to convince anyone else to join her team.

It wasn’t some bizarre pact with the Ku Klux Klan (an organization that Trump has disavowed) that put Trump in the White House. Nor was there an uprising of white supremacist voters for Donald Trump — or any popular upsurge for Trump at all, in fact. He received about as many votes as Mitt Romney did in 2012. Votes for Trump were just better distributed throughout traditionally blue states in the industrial Midwest — and that was crucial to his victory.

Even more damning for Ms. Palmieri’s claims of empowered sects white supremacists is that Trump actually did better with black and Hispanic voters than Romney did. As one pollster noted in recent analysis,

With Barack Obama off the ticket – and Ms. Clinton on it – higher percentages of both [black and Hispanic voters] voted Republican last month. Black voters helped Mr. Trump even more by staying home. In crucial Michigan and Wisconsin, Ms. Clinton received an estimated 129,000 fewer of their votes than Mr. Obama, more than Mr. Trump’s combined margin of victory in two states. [Emphasis added.]

Ms. Palmieri can bemoan the negative aspects of American society all she wants, but the simple fact is, that’s not why Donald Trump won.

Rather, the post-election analysis shows that Trump simply went to states that Hillary Clinton spent little time in instead taking them for granted. In Michigan and Wisconsin — traditionally blue states that went to Trump — Clinton’s campaign was drastically under resourced.

Per one report, Michigan had one-tenth the canvasser capacity utilized by then-Senator John Kerry during his 2004 presidential race. The same poor ground game cost Clinton Pennsylvania. As tellingly is where the candidates chose to spend the most time in the last 100 days of the election. Trump made 133 visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin. Clinton made 87.

These electoral statistics don’t even begin to address the quality of candidates and their messaging, and the role that played in the election. Trump may have lacked the 30 years of political experience of Clinton; often much less polished, unfiltered, and politically incorrect.

In fact, it’s perhaps exactly what the voters were hungry for: a candidate that appealed to those voters who felt displaced, disenfranchises, and looking for real change (not the type promised by Senator Barack Obama back in 2008).

As for Hillary Clinton, she could not have been a more status-quo candidate. Moreover, she failed entirely to reach voters in rural areas, a constituency Democrats have long taken for granted. But without a compelling economic strategy, or any strategy really — except to promise another Obama-term — the Clinton campaign did little to sway them.

In fact, Politico reported that Clinton’s campaign team had one staffer dedicated to rural outreach — based in Brooklyn.

Despite Palmieri’s hysterics, perceived support from the fringe of American society is not responsible for electing Trump. Palmieri may not agree with all the Trump team’s rhetorical tactics. Indeed, some disagreement should in fact be expected, but her inability to recognize the strategic failures of the campaign she ran, not to mention the poor quality of her own candidate, should be evidence that Democrats are nothing but sore losers. (For more from the author of “Why 209 Is the Most Significant Number Behind Trump’s Victory” please click HERE)

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